From across the room, I spotted them. Poppy Skinner and Maria Stridh Hanley weren’t hard to miss in the crowd of hipster coffee drinkers at Dapper Coffee. Still, just to be sure, I waited a moment before going over to introduce myself. By the way they were dressed, I could tell they had an eye for style and a love of the finer things in life. Between the both of them, there was over 10 years of experience in the fashion and luxury industry so the ability to spot a trend was already embedded into their DNA.
As we settled ourselves down for a chat, I realised that this was going to be a fun conversation. While the passion for their new jewellery brand, Poppy & Maria shone through, it was also clear to see that they were great friends. There was comfortable banter but additionally, a mutual respect for each others talents. They also wore a few of the gorgeous pieces of jewellery from their collection which was recently launched in Singapore to a global market.
While many a young woman would have been thrilled to hold the positions Poppy and Maria had prior to the start of their new business, the duo had instead thrown themselves fearlessly into an industry that both had little knowledge about (apart from the aesthetics, of course). Both had been working at Tatler Online where they met. It was here and through their frequent lunchtime jewellery browsing excursions that the two became friends.
A random trip with her husband introduced Poppy to a jewellery artisan and semi-precious stone craftsman. This was the start of their partnership. Returning to Singapore, Poppy couldn’t wait to show her find to Maria and the rest, they say, is history.
Within six months, each of them had left their jobs and were busily preparing to launch Poppy & Maria, a new jewellery brand that contains pieces of their own design.
While both knew exactly what was on trend and what they wanted for their designs, they also had wildly different styles. In the early stages of building their brand and creating the pieces that would form their first collection, Poppy and Maria argued about what should or should not be included in their range. This, to me, is the beauty of Poppy & Maria, a meeting of disparate design ideals that have merged to form one unique brand. The result is a little bit edgy but timeless in that you can wear these pieces night or day, casually or to a formal affair.
Both Poppy and Maria were intent on bringing to market affordable luxury. Having lived in Singapore the sum of 10 years (Maria for six and Poppy for four), they had experienced, first hand, the frustration of finding unique, chic pieces that lasted. This was their goal for Poppy & Maria, bringing in genuine and original pieces that would stand the test of time and not cost the earth.
Using semi-precious gemstones such as lapis, ruby, rainbow moonstine, green onyx and labradorite, their pieces are all set in sterling silver with some in gold plating. You will find in their range, beautiful earrings, bracelets, bangles, necklaces and rings, all priced well and perfect as a gift for a friend (or even yourself!).
When talking about their new brand and their shift from employment to running their own businesses, the both could not be happier. While running their own business means that they have to do everything themselves, it also gives them the flexibility and passion to pursue something they both love. Of their brand, they said:
“We are extremely proud of our brand. It is an incredible feeling to create something that can be enjoyed by so many women all over the world.”
Thanks for talking to us, Poppy and Maria, it was a pleasure to meet you!
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All images provided by Poppy & Maria.